4 Weirdly Positive Blog Posts For Anxiety-prone Writers

“You probably know to ask yourself, ‘What do I want?’ Here’s a way better question”

This blog post by Mark Manson takes a well-worn life question and turns it on its head. Instead of asking ‘What will make me happy?’ he suggests asking yourself ‘What am I willing to struggle for?’ The more I read the more I thought about my own struggles, the sacrifices I have made and the invitable struggles to come to devote myself to writing. I thought about it, and realised that although I’ve been struggling, I’ve not done enough hard graft, put in enough sweat, blood and tears, to justify my sulking.

“15 Things You Need To Know About People Who Have Concealed Anxiety”

I’m not one for writing about what I like to call my ‘black cloud’ – in fact, this might be the first time. I’m also not an advocate of self-diagnosis on the internet; it can lead to trouble. But when I stumbled on this post about concealed anxiety via that lecherous uncle that is Facebook, I got excited. In a way not dissimilar to having someone else see solutions to your problems more clearly than you can, this easy to digest blog post had me ticking off all the things I recognised in myself. It doesn’t necessarily cure the thing, but seeing it laid out logically made me think logically about it. And it really helped.

“To Be Happier, Start Thinking More About Your Death”

I love this New York Times article from Arthur C. Brooks. My sisters, my mother and I talk about death all the time: our top five funeral songs, what the most environmentally friendly burials are, coffin preference: wicker or mahogany? We even discuss who’ll go first, as casually as other families might discuss who’ll have the first baby, or their own mortgage by the time they’re thirty. Morbid? In some circles. Practical? Absolutely. We’re pretty proud of it.

“25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing”

Or any of the blog posts on Chuck Wendig’s website really. He doesn’t mince his words. And he’s funny, which helps immensely.

What I learned about writing without the internet

On Wednesday evening our internet cut out because the bill hadn’t been paid. We only got it back this morning (Sunday for anyone in a different time-zone).

After the initial shock of not being able to check Facebook 14 times in an hour, I got pretty bored. Bit my nails a lot.


Okay, it wasn’t exactly like this.

That night, I set myself a goal of writing 500 words of a work-in-progress. Small and achievable. When I hit the 500-word mark, I just kept going. And going.

On Thursday, I opened up a file, a short sci-fi story I’ve been chipping away at for a long time. It’s the longest story I’ve written so far and every time I went to work on it, it seemed like such a mammoth task I chickened out and did something else.

This time I felt the same anxiety about getting stuck in, but printed off the whole thing and went through it page by page, making edits with a red pen.

On Saturday I sat at the kitchen table with my laptop, propped up the pages with a stack of books and a bit of blue-tack, and went to work, editing, cutting, re-wording sentences. Adding scenes and taking out ones that didn’t work. I think I started at around 2pm and didn’t stop until I’d reached the last page at 9:30pm.

Even in between the writing, I did things like make breakfast for everyone and offered to go to the shop for trash (if you know me well, you know these are not things that happen often).

Now the internet is back, and while I’m glad I can look up whether or not they make secret cameras that are undetectable to security scanners (they don’t) and what the word ‘runnygazoo’ means (n. nonsense), I’m a little sad. I have absolutely no willpower, so avoiding the internet completely is a hard sell. What I am going to try though is giving myself an allowance of internet, an internet-free zone during the day and only double-clicking that little icon in the evening. Can I do it? God knows.

Tomorrow is Day 1…


This blog post started life suffering from depression.

It opened with the sentence “Let me begin by saying that 2015 was, for me at least, like a silent fart in an elevator.”

There was a completely asinine title: “New Year, New Me (Or Something to That Effect)”

There were cliches: “picking up the broken pieces” and “dotting the i’s”.

There was evidence of failures taken to heart: “I made big plans at the start of the year…”

There was passive voice.

It wasn’t working. It read too much like someone else, some cookie-cutter type who Googled the phrase ‘a deep and never ending sadness’ and regurgitated the results verbatim into a text box.

I became twitchy, easily offended, a touch insane. I asked a friend to read a story of mine. He said “Sure – but I’m busy right now.” I stomped around the house for a bit. Drank two glasses of milk and ate three Drifter bars in quick succession. I belly crawled to the Playstation for help, diving into GTA V and unleashing an artistic rage bomb on the artificially intelligent people of Los Santos. I drove around aimlessly, got a terrible haircut, smashed up a bus stop with my (Michael’s) bare fists. I lit an oil tanker on fire at a petrol station with a jerry can. I met up with two members of the Epsilon Program in the mountains, was abducted, drugged, robbed of my clothes and left in a field in the hot sun, stumbling around like a sick antelope. I got a text from Marnie of the Epsilon Program asking me to donate $500.

I donated the $500.

Then I switched it off. Nothing seemed to appease me.

Then I picked up a book and started reading. I’m a writer. I should be reading, a LOT. Or at least a lot more than I’ve been doing.

But, Netflix. You know how it is.

FUCK IT, I said. Off went the TV. And I felt sort of, kind of, a bit better. Also, I held a games night and got people I liked round and drank rum and shouted and let off steam.

So let it be known: